Coast Guard rescues two people from sinking fishing vessel 35 miles offshore

U.S. Coast Guard District 11
Story by Lt. Brian Ward

Date: 09.06.2013
Posted: 09.09.2013 22:56
News ID: 113363

MCKINLEYVILLE, Calif. – A Coast Guard MH-65 Dolphin from Sector Humboldt Bay rescued two people from a 47 ft fishing vessel taking on water 35 miles off the coast of Punta Gorda in northern California.<br /> <br /> At 2:38 p.m. Coast Guard Sector Humboldt Bay received a garbled Mayday call from the Crescent City fishing vessel “Kellan A” 35 miles west of Punta Gorda that was taking on water in 8-12 foot seas and 20 knot winds. Shortly after making the Mayday call, both crew members donned survival suits and evacuated to a life raft. Less than 30 minutes later, Sector Humboldt Bay had launched a MH-65 Dolphin helicopter from the Arcata Airport, as well as two 47-foot motor lifeboats from Station Humboldt Bay and Station Noyo River.<br /> <br /> The helicopter arrived on scene by 3:30 p.m., having detected and homed on the two survivor’s 406 Mhz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) signal, which sends a signal with the vessel’s position to emergency services via satellite. The crew noted that the vessel was partially submerged and the two survivors were sheltered in a life raft. The helicopter entered a hover, deployed the rescue swimmer, and hoisted aboard the two survivors.<br /> <br /> With the two survivors onboard, the helicopter returned to the Arcata airport where an ambulance from Mad River Hospital was waiting to provide medical treatment.<br /> <br /> The helicopter aircrew was composed of aircraft commander Lt. Brian Ward (Springfield, Va.), co-pilot Lt. Taylor Andrews, flight mechanic Aviation Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Derek Hietala, and rescue swimmer Aviation Survival Technician 3rd Class Travis Peck.